Florida State assistant coach says Grayson Allen did not shove him

Florida State assistant coach Dennis Gates, whom Grayson Allen appeared to shove while flying out of bounds for a loose ball Tuesday night, took to Twitter Wednesday morning to say that fans and media are “misreading” the play. He even used the hashtag #givegraysonabreak.

Here’s Gates’ explanation of the play:

“I clearly need to do a better job of moving out of the way like my coworkers. It is my responsibility to do 1 of 2 things. The 1st is getting out of the way. The 2nd, be a good sport by making an attempt to protect an opponent blind spot.

“I clearly did not make the correct decision. I misread Grayson Allen’s speed the same way you all are misreading the clip. It was our lower body that made the most contact. The results from that impact is what put me on my back not a shove. I did not in anyway feel attacked nor disrespected as the media and others are portraying Grayson Allen’s character and hustle.

“Stop judging on hand placement. All I view it to be is, “A GREAT HUSTLE PLAY.” Nothing more, nothing less. Watch the lower body collision, not upper. I know what a dirty play is and I was not the victim of one.”

The play in question happened in the second half of No. 9 Florida State’s 88-72 victory over No. 7 Duke. As Allen dove head first into the Florida State bench to save a rebound from going out of bounds, he appeared to shove Gates with both hands.

Such a play might have gone unnoticed had it involved another player, but Allen’s history of unsportsmanlike behavior has inspired extra scrutiny. Three times in the past 11 months, Allen has tripped an opposing player, the most recent one resulting in a one-game suspension.

In his second game after returning from his suspension, Allen again was at the center of controversy. When Allen ran into Boston College forward Connar Nava’s ball screen last Saturday afternoon, the Duke guard stumbled forward and his left leg popped up in a manner vaguely reminiscent of his three prior tripping incidents.

Referees did not call a foul on Allen after the play,  but it became a story when the video clip circulated across social media and when Nava himself commented in a since-deleted tweet. “Can’t stop, won’t stop,” he wrote alongside a video of the play.

Nava’s reaction was a stark contrast to Gates’ tweet on Wednesday morning. By defending Allen, the Florida State assistant snuffed out the controversy before it could overshadow the Seminoles’ ascent to the top of the ACC standings.